The federal government’s new high-risk health insurance program “will cover any abortion that is legal in Pennsylvania,” says the National Right to Life Committee. According to Christianity Today, several groups responded to the report by calling President Obama a liar because he and pro-life Democrats promised abortion would not be funded under the law. “This is just the first proof of the phoniness of President Obama’s assurances that federal funds would not subsidize abortion—but it will not be the last,” said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the NRLC. Other groups also reported on the new plan. Catherine Snow of CitizenLink said “the Obama Administration is now quietly subsidizing nearly all forms of abortion in Pennsylvania.” Family Research Council senior vice-president Tom Mc Clusky remarked, “Never have we so regretted being right on an issue. For our efforts to remove the [health care] bill’s abortion funding, we were called ‘deceivers’ by President Obama and ‘liars’ by his allies. Now we know who the true deceivers and liars really are.” Another group known as Faith in Public Life took issue with FRC and NRLC, saying that elective abortions are not covered. But Johnson called that statement a “red herring” because of the word “elective.” Under Pennsylvania law cited in the plan, a woman may have an abortion if her doctor agrees that abortion is needed after taking into account “all factors relevant to the well-being of the woman.” “The Pennsylvania proposal conspicuously lacks language that would prevent funding of abortions performed as a method of birth control or for any other reason except sex selection—and the Obama Administration has now approved this,” said Johnson.
- An investigation by three Republican congressmen has revealed that the Obama administration has secretly spent $23 million of U.S. taxpayer dollars in Kenya to fund a “yes” vote on a constitutional referendum, reports WorldNetDaily. The referendum, scheduled for Aug. 4, would increase access to abortions in Kenya and establish legal status for Islamic law tribunals. Meanwhile, trusted sources in Kenya told WND that the White House has used Vice President Joseph Biden’s trip to Kenya in June and the office of U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael E. Ranneberger to put out the message that passage of the referendum would enable the White House to open the floodgates to allow millions of dollars of additional U.S. government aid and private investment capital to flow into Kenya. Last week, in response to inquiries from Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the U.S. Agency for International Development admitted to spending more than $23 million of U.S. taxpayer money to influence voters in Kenya to pass the highly contentious constitution.
- Evangelical leaders participated in a conference call with Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform as the Obama administration heads into a legal battle over Arizona’s immigration law, reports Christianity Today. The Obama administration has filed a federal lawsuit against Arizona’s immigration law that focuses on why federal immigration laws enforced by federal agencies should take precedence to laws passed by a state. Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah are all preparing measures similar to Arizona’s law, according to the Washington Post. Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice is filing an amicus brief representing at least 40 members of Congress in support of Arizona’s law. “It’s troubling that the federal government, which has repeatedly failed to secure our nation’s borders, is now attempting to punish the state of Arizona for doing just that,” said Sekulow.
- Well-known pastor Charles Stanley delivered a hard-hitting sermon at First Baptist Church, Atlanta, on July 4, warning and condemning socialism, reports The Christian Post. “America currently stands in a very dangerous position,” said Stanley. “Today more than ever, the country is turning away from God and moving toward socialism. And the consequences will be grave. We know the truth, we know the principles of God. In spite of all that, we find ourselves as a nation violating the laws of God, heading in a direction that is going to be disastrous for us, for our children and the generations that are to come unless there is a change.” Stanley cited the crucial need for prayer regarding “a tide that is bringing with it ideas and philosophies, actions and attitudes that will ultimately destroy the way of life that you and I have.”
- The Palestinian Authority expects “big movement” toward taking over most of the areas that would encompass a future Palestinian state by the end of the year, reports WorldNetDaily. PA officials said the U.S. has been negotiating the borders of a future Palestinian state that would see Israel eventually withdraw from most of the West Bank and some areas of eastern Jerusalem with the exception of what are known as the three main settlement blocks—Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim, and Ariel. While the PA does not believe it will see an actual Palestinian state by the end of the year, it expects in that time it will take over many more neighborhoods in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem that are normally controlled on the ground by Israel. The PA said the expectation is based on pledges by the Obama administration.
- ParentalRights.org announced its push for a Parental Rights Amendment, working to get more cosponsors. SR 519 would, they believe, preserve U.S. sovereignty and keep the U.S. from being victim to the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child, which would severely curtail parental control over their children.
- An adjunct professor and lecturer for nine years with the University of Illinois’ Department of Religion was fired recently after he explained in an introductory class on Catholicism that that body believes homosexual acts are immoral, reports CitizenLink.com. A student anonymously claimed to be offended by Prof. Kenneth Howell’s statements, calling them “hate speech.” Howell responded, “My responsibility on teaching a class on Catholicism is to teach what the Catholic Church teaches. I have always made it very, very clear to my students that they are never required to believe what I’m teaching and they’ll never be judged on that.” The Alliance Defense Fund is representing the professor in his quest for reinstatement.
- A North Carolina pastor, Ronnie Baity, was invited last month to serve as guest chaplain at the state House for the first week, reports ChristianPost.com. He provided a transcript of his prayer beforehand to a liaison for the Legislature, who said she had a problem with his praying in the name of Jesus. Pastor Baity said his faith required him to pray in Jesus’ name. His opportunity to serve the House was denied. In response to a letter from legal counsel, the House has formed a special committee to consider its guest chaplain program, reports the Christian Law Association. Baity said he has received an overwhelming amount of support form the general public and also from some of the House members.
- At their meeting this year in New Orleans, the largest professional organization and labor union in the U.S., the National Education Association, featured a new caucus: the NEA Drag Queen Caucus, reports OneNewsNow.com. Responded Finn Laursen, executive director of the NEA alternative, Christian Educators Association International, “They already have had the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, [and] Transgender Caucus and apparently felt that the drag queens needed their own caucus. . . . America, I think, needs to respond and to realize what the National Education Association stands for; they’re not hiding it. It’s appalling to many of our conservative Christian educators who, in their own lives, could not support this kind of thing, but find that their dues are being used to support just those kinds of things.”
- Christian and conservative groups in Washington, D.C. are determined to take the gay marriage issue to the U.S. Supreme Court after their appeal to let the people vote on the matter was rejected, according to ChristianPost.com. “In America, we respect the right to vote. The citizens of the District of Columbia should not have their voices suppressed by the government, but that is exactly what is happening here,” remarked Austin R. Nimocks, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund. Lawmakers in the district legalized marriage for gay and lesbian couples in December, and the law went into effect in March.
- Operation Rescue is calling for an independent auditor in light of connections between Iowa Gov. Culver, Attorney General Miller, and Planned Parenthood. A telemed abortion scandal came to light recently, as Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, based in Des Moines, has been the recipient of Title X funds as well as money from other federal programs. Thousands of tax dollars have been disbursed directly to PPH through the Iowa Attorney General’s office. Some of the missing $1.8 billion is believed to have made its way to Iowa. “We believe the public has a right to know where their tax money is going. It is time that Planned Parenthood gives an account for the money it has siphoned from hard-working taxpayers,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. Evidence of overbilling by a number of Planned Parenthood affiliates has surfaced in California, where a state audit discovered that PP of San Diego and Riverside Counties had overbilled the state $5,213,645.92 for birth control pills alone.
- Momentum is building for a national “Back to Church Sunday” slated for September 12, notes ChristianNewsWire. Already more than 1,500 churches across the country have committed to inviting people who once attended church, but don’t anymore, to special worship services. Last year a survey found that participating churches increased their weekly attendance on average by 19 percent.
- A Christian-inspired weekly communications group in Spain has been fined $125,000 by a government agency for its broadcast of TV ads that promote the traditional family, reports WorldNetDaily. The ads, using video footage of homosexual pride events, ask, “Proud . . . of what?” A report by the European Center for Law and Justice notes that a democratic country like Spain should not have a “thought police” and contends that the fine violated the fundamental democratic principle of the right of expression.
- Controversy is surrounding Muslims’ efforts to build a mosque in New York City’s Ground Zero, reports Christian Post. Sarah Palin has criticized the plan, saying that it “stabs hearts.” Other politicians are defending the project, including Michael Bloomberg. But GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio called for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, his opponent in the race for governor, to probe. However, Cuomo backs the project. Meanwhile, a televangelist, Bill Keller, has announced that he plans to open a Christian center nearby. “The Christian center will serve to ‘combat this new evil being constructed near ground zero’, and ‘bring people the truth of God’s Word and the love and hope of Jesus Christ,’ ” said Keller.
- A California library is under fire for displaying “anti-religious” paintings as part of its current art show, reports Christian Post. The Sacramento County Public Library’s most controversial painting is one of a large Bible with a label reading, “Warning: May Impair Judgment.” “I came to the conclusion that there must be something about religious faith which renders people stupid,” remarked the artist, Jeri Wyrick, who is also a lawyer in San Francisco. The Pacific Justice Institute is demanding the library take action. “It is outrageous that our local public law library is actively promoting anti-religious paintings by an artist who calls people of faith stupid,” remarked Brad Dacus, PJI president.
- A Supreme Court officer, says Personal Liberty Digest, made remarks such as “Move along; no praying here; it’s against the law” to an Arizona Christian school group as they stopped for a moment of prayer outside the building they were visiting. As a result, the Alliance Defense Fund has sent a letter to U.S. Supreme Court officials urging them to stop their police officers from prohibiting people from quietly praying outside the court building.
- A new Rasmussen survey finds that only 23 percent of those polled believe that the federal government today has the consent of the governed.
- The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has a new president, Matthew Harrison, considered much more conservative than his predecessor, Gerald Kieschnick. One commentator asked, “Will he [Harrison] act on the need for unity in doctrine and practice, or will political considerations supersede the Bible, as they did so often in the Kieschnick administration?” Herman Otten, editor of Christian News, called for those in the Missouri Synod who are not conservative to go their own way so each side of the fence can “do its mission in peace.” To the liberals he said, “Your church body can be part of [the] liberal ecumenical movement with its anything goes churches like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Ours will then be free to work for a worldwide Reformation and Formula of Concord by the time of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on October 31, 2017.”